Monday, May 18th, 2009...12:07 am

The Problem of Invasive Plants

Leafy Scourge by Anita363 (on flickr)

Leafy Scourge by Anita363 (on flickr)

This May TheGardenLady attended a lecture called “Weeds in Nature’s Garden…the problem of invasive species” given by Bruce Barbour who is a Rutgers Cooperative Extension Environmental Agent. There are invasive plant species, invasive animal species and invasive disease species. This is a fascinating and scary topic. For example, the April 20th, 2009, New Yorker magazine wrote an article about the escape of exotic animals in Florida where they are now invasive species. We have all watched in horror as something called the swine flu or the H1N1 virus spread across the world.

But the invasive species that Bruce Barbour spoke about was the plants
species that have become invasive in NJ and around the country.

What are invasive plant species and why are they a problem? Well, the short answer is that these are plants have come into the environment some way and then they take over the native plants’ environments, eventually choking out the native plants and they become nuisance plants or weeds where they are not wanted. The native plants were the plants that fed the local animal population. Without the native plants to eat, the native animal, bird and beneficial insect populations that need special plants are lost or can become extinct. It is a vicious problem in at least the short and middle term. In the long term, millions of years from now, we can’t know what will happen.

If you’re concerned with the invasion of invasive plants, and you’re wondering about what types of plants your should plant in your area, there is an excellent website that talks about native plants for each area in the United States.  Here it is.

In addition, each state has its own Native Plant Society. Consider joining your state’s Native Plant Society or checking out their website.

In two days, TheGardenLady will continue to discuss invasive plants, in particular how they came to the United States.  So stay tuned.

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